I must admit, I’ve voted for people that others considered “spoilers.” I wanted my candidates to win. It didn’t happen, but they were my top choices at the time. I would have rather had a chance to put down a second choice so that my vote wasn’t wasted and that eventually one candidate would receive a majority of the votes.
Ranked choice ballots will eliminate the "spoiler effect," allowing me to support my preferred candidate. I don’t want to worry about helping elect my least favorite candidate. Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) should generate more reasoned discussion of the issues and less acrimony. I’ve watched our elections turn into a circus of charges of “spoiler” and become filled with requests for candidates to step down to prevent electing a less that majority winner.
Under a RCV system, negative campaigning becomes bad politics. Each candidate needs to obtain a majority of support. A negative campaign runs the risk of alienating voters who might otherwise see the other candidate as their second choice. More than a third of Maine registered voters are unenrolled: that is; they choose no party designation when they register to vote. This makes second choice rankings increasingly important in our state with this spread of total registered voters — 989,330, Democrats - 312,812, Greens - 40,771, Republicans - 267,976, Unenrolled - 367,771. This information taken from the Maine Secretary of State’s data Statewide Registered and Enrolled Data File (Active Status) As of 11/4/2014.
In 2011, the League of Women Voters of Maine (LWVME) published its declaration of support for Ranked Choice Voting. The organization posted a clear and simple explanation of RCV on its blog: https://lwvme.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/why-lwvmesupports ranked-choice-voting/ LWVME gives the following reasons for choosing RCV: “RCV ensures a majority winner; it minimizes ‘strategic’ voting; it allows voters to express their sincere preferences among candidates; RCV eliminates problems of spoiler candidates knocking off major candidates; RCV does not require separate run-off elections; it promotes civility in campaigns; RCV is most likely to elect a candidate with broad appeal and it may improve voter participation.”
Ranked Choice Voting is the best alternative to accommodate an election when three or more candidates run for political office. There are a many election options available, including open primaries and traditional runoffs. RCV is the most cost-effective and democratic system that ensures a majority-winning, elected official.
Please support Rank Choice Voting when you have a chance to vote at the polls. If you want to volunteer to help or FMI: www.fairvotemaine.org
Nancy E. Randolph is a former Brunswick District 6 Town Councilor and former member the Topsham Board of Selectmen.